It's a glorious day when you acquire a new customer to your business. It's not such a good day when you realize you are losing customers to other businesses. But leave they will if you don't do anything to keep them on your side. People are fickle beasts, so if you do anything to get their backs up, or if your competitors are doing more than you to encourage their custom, then they might call time on your business. This sucks, we know! You are relying on your customers for your profits, after all. How else are you going to put food on the table? How will you pay your bills? How will you keep up with your Netflix subscription? Without your customers then, you are going to suffer! So, let's take a moment to reflect. If you are having difficulty retaining customers/clients or struggling to bring new custom to your business, there are probably some very good reasons why:
1. Your website is no longer fit for purpose
Your website should be your greatest asset, but if there any inherent problems within it, it could become your greatest enemy! Ask yourself these questions.
a) Is the overall design outdated?
If your competitors are suckering your customers in with the latest website design trends, then your site might look a little on the ugly side in comparison. And if your site doesn't look the part, then in your customer's minds, that might reflect on the quality of the product or service you are selling. Stay in touch with the latest trends then, and if necessary, employ the services of a professional web designer to ensure your site looks and feels the part.
b) Is your website optimized for smart devices?
Many of your customers will be using their phones or tablets to browse your website, but if it isn't optimized for these smaller screens, then the resulting slow loading times and poorly optimized displays will frustrate them. You need to follow the advice in the previously linked article to ensure your website works across all devices. If your website suffers in comparison to your nearest rivals, then it's understandable that your customers might migrate over to the other side. So, consider the questions and solutions we posed, and then commit to CRO testing to correct and improve any area of your website that might cause problems for both site visitors and current customers alike.
2. Your competitors have more to offer your customers
In business, you need to find your profitable niche. While you will never be totally original with your product or service, you can still find ways to offer your customers something that your competitors aren't. However, you need to commit to research. If your competitors are winning over your customers, then they might have encroached upon your niche, and in some ways, may have made efforts to both beat you and give your customers a better deal. So, ask yourself these questions?
a) Are your competitors offering the same product or service, but at a cheaper price?
You don't want to bankrupt yourself, but if your customers can get the exact same thing elsewhere, but at a lower cost to themselves, then you do need to offer more competitive pricing, but ensure that the VALUE of your service is impeccable!
b) Are your competitors offering your customers special incentives?
Your competitors don't have to lower their prices to beat you. They might offer your customers a little something extra instead, such as free shipping or next day delivery, as an incentive to win them to their side. They might have special offers too, with 2-for-1 deals on certain items, or discounts to frequent customers. To find out more, visit your competitor's websites, and/or survey past customers, to get an inkling of what your rivals are up to. Then do all you can to outsmart them, offering special incentives of your own to lure your customers back to you.
3. You have upset your customers
Get on the wrong side of your customers, and not only will they ditch you for your nearest rival, but they might also cause a mass exodus should they take to social media and online review sites to damage your reputation. So, ask yourself. If you have been losing customers, what might you have done to upset them?
a) Have you made promises you can't keep?
Don't offer your customers anything if there is no guarantee you can live up to your promises. Such things as price matching and next-day delivery are excellent ways to bolster customer support, but if you can't realistically commit to such promises on a regular basis, then it might be better not to offer them at all.
b) Have you taken their complaints seriously?
If a customer calls or emails you with a complaint, don't brush them off with a glib answer. Don't put the phone down on them to curb the ringing in your ears, and don't delete their emails because you can't be bothered to reply to them. Whether their complaints are valid or not, you still need to treat them seriously, as you will fuel the customer's ire otherwise. They might well make their complaints public, so not only will you lose their custom, but you might also lose any potential customers because of your damaged reputation. Use these strategies for handling complaints, and hopefully, you will then get back on your customer's good sides.
In both cases, make every effort to apologize to your customers. Even if you have upset them, you can still add less fuel to the fire by being kind and respectful in the way you move forward with them. Hopefully, they will then be less inclined to leave your business in the proverbial dust!
In some cases, you might lose customers in quite natural ways. They might no longer have any need for what you're offering, for example. Still, consider the points we have raised here, and if any of what we have said relates to your business, make every effort to improve your business in the relevant areas. You might then stand a better chance of winning back and retaining your customers.